The Father's Role

Bible Book: Joshua  24 : 14-15
Subject: Fathers; Home; Children; Family
Series: Hope For The Home

THE FATHER'S ROLE

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com
Introduction

In this series I plan to deliver three messages on the children in the home - one regarding the father's role, one concerning the mother's role and one pertaining to the role of the children in the home.

Father's Day actually began on Mother's Day. It was a mother's day in Spokane, Washington, when a Mrs. Dodd had a flash of inspiration about honoring fathers. As she sat in the service and thought about her family life, she remembered how her mother had died when she was very young, and how her father had reared her and her five brothers all alone. He taught them to love God and to live by the Golden Rule. Mrs. Dodd determined that godly fathers should be recognized. By 1910 it had become an annual event (Have a Good Day, June 1995).

Our attitude about dear, old dad changes as the years pass. Someone has said that a lifetime of opinions about one's father can be summed up in the following.

Age 4 - My daddy can do anything.

Age 8 - My daddy knows just about everything.

Age 12 - My daddy just doesn't understand.

Age 16 - My daddy knows nothing.

Age 18 - My daddy is hopelessly old fashioned.

Age 25 - My dad comes up with interesting thoughts at times.

Age 35 - My dad will know what to do, I will call him.

Age 45 - What would dad have done in this situation?

Age 65 - I wish dad was here so I could talk to him about this.

Jo Ann Heidbreder wrote a poem which states interestingly a father's many different responsibilities.

"Mender of toys, leader of boys;

Changer of fuses, kisser of bruises;

Mover of couches, soother of ouches;

Pounder of nails, teller of tales;

Hanger of screens, guide for teens;

Fixer of bikes, chastiser of tykes;

Raker of leaves, cleaner of eaves;

Dryer of dishes, fulfiller of wishes;

Oh bless him, dear Lord."

Indeed, our dads need to be blessed of God, and they will be if they will seek His blessing. So many dads today are not interested in the blessing of God. Joshua was a father who loved God and lived for God. He pledged to lead His family to serve God as well. Let's look at this in Joshua 24:14-15.

Dad, what can you do to be a proper father? How can you be sure that you are a godly dad, leading your children to be godly as well? You must make a choice, as did Joshua, to serve the Lord with all your heart and to lead your family to do the same as fully as is possible. I want you to see the five characteristics of a fatherly decision to serve the living God.

I. This is an Imperative Choice

Joshua said, "Choose!" This is an Hebrew imperative. Friend you are choosing whether you want to or not. You are choosing to decide for God or against Him. You are choosing to lead your family to serve God or not to serve God. You will serve some god! The question is, will it be the true God?

Many fathers are choosing not to serve God and some who do decide to serve God are not influencing their children for God into adulthood.

In a survey of 1,200 adults Americans almost half (49%) reported that their father is still living. Among people who say their best friend is a relative 7% say their mother is their best friend, but the percentage who say their father is their best friend is zero. Forty percent of Father's Day cards are humorous, but only 8% of Mother's Day cards are. "Database" by Jo Ann Tooley and Elizabeth Wagner. U.S. News & World Report, Jun 17, 1991. Page 10.

A. We see the Must of it

Joshua gave the men a command that day. The word “choose” as an imperative! Dad, you can be a godly dad or an ungodly one, but you can stand in between!

B. We see the Means of it

To be the right kind of man, the proper type of father, is a choice! The means of being that dad is to commit yourself to the Lord - the Heavenly Father.

C. We see the Motive of it

It is a matter of honoring God and honoring your family.

II. This is an Individual Choice

No one can make this decision for you. You must choose to serve God yourself!

A. You must Answer the Call

Joshua said, “Choose YOU.” It is an individual choice.

B. Your will Answer for the Consequences

We must answer for the way the answer and the way we keep our promises to God.

III. This is an Immediate Choice

A. The Opportunity that Time Steals

A grade school teacher held a contest in which she asked her students to describe what they liked best about their fathers. The winning entry read, "I have so much fun with my father that I wish I had known him sooner."

A comment like that would brighten the day for any father who loves his family. Yet in many homes, the children never really get to know their dad because he doesn't take the time to be with them. You had better decide for God early, because time is slipping by you and you will not get another chance with your children!

Charles Adams, the son of President John Adams, wrote in his diary one day: "Went fishing with my son today‑‑a day wasted." The boy, however, had a different perspective on the day. The entry in his diary for that date reads: "Went fishing with my father‑‑the most wonderful day of my life." [Today's Better Life, Sum 1992.]

B. The Opportunity that Termination Stops

Death will end all decisions! Your soul and your family hang in the balance of your decision! It will be horrible for some men to stand before God and hear Him say, "Your son and/or daughter will be in hell one day because you wasted your opportunities."

IV. This is an Involved Choice

A. It Demands Worship

A man choosing to be the right kind of father will need the help of the Heavenly Father. You can’t do this alone. It demands a true worship of the Lord. You can play church, play religion, and play faith and expect to be a godly father.

B. It Demands Work

Joshua committed to serving the Lord, and only the Lord. That is what a father must do in order to fulfill God's will in the home. No one said being a father is easy. It requires commitment and dedication. It is work to live the life of a godly father.

C. It Demands Will

You must will to do it. It doesn’t come naturally. We must adapt our will to God’s will to be the right kind of fathers. Joshua made it clear that he, and his family, were going to serve the Lord! Whosoever will, can!

The father of a small boy would occasionally sneak into a neighbor's orchard and pluck some of the choicest fruit. He always made sure, however, that "the coast was clear."

One day with his son tagging along, after carefully looking in every direction and seeing no one, he crept through the fence. He was just about ready to help himself when the youngster startled him by crying our, "Dad! Dad! You didn't look up! You forgot to see if God is watching!"

Dr. Alan Redpath, former pastor of Moody Memorial Church, tells of the time his father, after a brief period of tension in the home, looked across the table at his wife and said, "I'm so sorry I spoke to you the way I did. I'm ashamed of myself."

Dr. Redpath said that although at that time has was not a Christian, he went to his room after the meal, knelt, and prayed, "O God, I thank you for a father like that. Make me more like him."

Humble confession has a twofold result. Sincere believers will be able to pray for us intelligently; and secondly, our lives will become effectual in their influence upon others.

V. This is an Influential Choice

A. An Inward Influence

You make a difference in your home!

B. An Outward Influence

This impacts your society! That is why Joshua spoke these words. He was concerned about the collapse of the nation because of the failure of the fathers in the homes.

C. An Onward Influence

The father of Jonathan Edwards was a minister and his mother was the daughter of a clergyman. Jonathan Edwards was a great servant of God and reared his family to love God. Of the descendants of J.E. there were 14 presidents of colleges; more than one hundred college professors; more than one hundred lawyers; thirty judges; sixty medical doctors; more than 100 clergymen, missionaries, and theology professors; and about sixty authors. All that from one family with a godly father!

The Jutes family lived about the same time as Jonathan Edwards. Someone studied their descendants as well. The father in the Jutes family was ungodly and lazy. The family was said to have cost the state of New York an enormous sum of money. Their entire record is one of pauperism and crime, insanity and imbecility. Among 1,200 known descendants, 300 were professional paupers, 440 wrecked their physical lives with wicked living; 60 were habitual thieves; 130 were convicted criminals; 55 were prostitutes; and 7 of them were convicted murderers!

Conclusion

Janice Sue Zeiler writes, "I remember when I was five or six years old having a big writing tablet on which I could do block printing. One day I took a sheet of tablet paper, folded it in half, and wrote 'I love you' on the inside. I put my dad's name on the outside, covered the sheet with hearts, and set it on his dresser. I had made a valentine for him, and it wasn't even Valentine's Day! Eagerly I anticipated what I thought would be an enthusiastic response. It never came. "The next afternoon I discovered the valentine in the wastebasket. 'This has to be a mistake,' I thought. 'He must not have seen it.' I lifted the valentine from the trash and carefully stood it up in the center of his dresser. My heart was pounding the next day when I checked the wastebasket. It was there again! Only this time it was crumpled with some other papers. "'He must not have liked it!' I thought. 'Or maybe he didn't see it.' I smoothed out the creases as best I could and placed the valentine on his dresser once more. I made sure that it was very conspicuous so that this time he would see it. "The next day Dad called me to him. I remember feeling very shy. ‘Will you quit putting that note on my dresser?' he demanded. 'I already know that you love me!' "When I became a Christian, I thought about finding that valentine in the trash and about how hurt and angry I had felt. Why hadn't my dad reached out in love to me? "Then I thought about Jesus. Jesus had put a valentine on my dresser. It had my name on the outside, and on the inside it said, 'I love you.' The lettering was not with a pencil; it was written with blood. It cost Jesus His life to send me His valentine. I'm glad that I didn't crumple it and throw it away." [Decision, Feb 1994. Page 42.]

Even if you had a dad who did not love Jesus, or a dad who did not love you or at least never told you that he loved you, there is a heavenly Father who loves you. Don't throw away your opportunity to know Him and to serve Him.